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Cross Border Love

Couples battle geography and the immigration system to be together.



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When asked if they had a plan when they docked at a port in Ireland, Ryan chuckles and says, "We have never had any kind of plan in life. When we left the boat, we spent a week together in Ireland travelling around, kind of decompressing."

Then Jade returned to Squamish and Ryan to Seattle.

But they continued to see each other — never scheduled they claim — yet gradually leading to monthly visits south or north of the border.

"It kind of was what it was, you know," says Jade. "We didn't have too many expectations. He was a great friend and it became more."

Even moving to Squamish started as a casual conversation, confesses Ryan.

Once they decided that they wished to live together, the tricky part was to figure out how to make it transpire. With no intention of getting married, they settled on the distinction of a conjugal relationship, which is "marriage-like," meaning that there must be a serious commitment to spend their lives together in a monogamous relationship.

Then, faced with big stacks of paperwork, they started the process of filling it out in August 2010. The biggest challenge, says Ryan, was accounting for all the time from when he was 18-years-old to the present. "They want to know what you were doing, if you were in school, if you were travelling, if you were employed."

After a prolonged thirteen-month wait, in Sept. 2011 Ryan received word to send in his passport to be issued with a visa for Canada. 

"It's funny, I was really excited," admits Jade, "and then I got really scared for some reason — all of a sudden I wasn't ready for it... there were a few days where I was thinking, 'Oh God this is happening.' It was fear of change."

"It changed both of our lifestyles a lot," says Ryan of his move to Squamish, "because she is used to being here, doing her work by herself and having her space." He sweeps his arm around to take in the workshop where we are sitting. Jade runs her own furniture making business and resides in a small apartment above her workshop.

"And then I am moving into this space," he says, "which completely changes the whole dynamics of her life up here.

"It ended up being a much bigger deal that I had initially anticipated it would be. [Squamish is] four hours from where I am from... that is not that far away, yet it has ended up being pretty significant and affected me more than I thought it would. I moved up here in mid-November 2011, but I still feel like I am in transition."